What is Community Organizing?

Question: What is Community Organizing?

Answer: Community organizing is a process by which a group of people organizes and takes measures to influence the policies or culture surrounding them. The term is usually, but not always, used to refer to local community organizing.

Examples of community organizers might include:

  • Public school parents who organize to demand a high-quality education for their children.
  • Neighbors who organize to address potholes in the road and other infrastructure issues.
  • Laid-off factory workers who organize to protest the shipping of jobs overseas.
Because community organizing is often associated with liberal activist groups, unions, people of color, and the poor, many conservatives take a dim view of it. But conservative organizations also rely on community organizing to build their ranks. The Christian Coalition, which can be credited to a great extent with the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994, used traditional community organizing techniques to build its membership. Likewise, George W. Bush's success in the 2004 presidential elections has been credited largely to his volunteers' commitment to community organizing on a precinct-by-precinct level.

Especially prominent historical examples of community organizing include:
  • The protests against British law that led to the American Revolution.
  • The 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which is credited to a great extent with passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  • The "Day Without Immigrants" rallies of May 1st, 2006, which contributed to the defeat of the draconian HR 4437 immigration reform proposal.